Over the past year, our visitors and staff have evaluated many products. The results below reflect a comilation of feedback from all sources:
1. Sytropin – We have used this product, taken a break from it and returned to it. We have definitely found that overall it has made the biggest difference in performance, especially from an aerobic capacity and endurance standpoint. We have also found benefits in weight management and lower body fat. Sytropin is our top pick for 2009. It is a homeopathic spray with a comprehensive array of amino acids and growth factors that stimulates the body’s own production of human growth hormone.
2. Immunocal Platinum – Best new discovery of 2009. If you haven’t already heard of glutathione, you will. Glutathione occurs naturally in the body. It is the body’s major anti-oxidant, immune system optimizer and detoxifier. It exists in virtually every cell in the body. It is produced within the cell by glycine, glutamine and cysteine. In the average North American diet, cysteine is either non-existent or scarce. An additional challenge is getting cysteine into the cells in a biologically active state. Immunocal Platinum is the result of decades of research conducted primarily at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. It is the only natural product that is both clinically and scientifically proven to optimize the immune system by raising glutathione levels. It is an undenatured whey protein isolate that is backed by over 70 worldwide patents. Coincidentally, it has also been clinically proven to enhance muscle performance.
3. Primorye Stress Relief Plus – Best stress reduction product. Named after the region in Russia from which most of its herbs are derived, this product is the result of billions of dollars of research over decades, spearheaded by the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Oxyfresh combined the herbal extract with aloe from Costa Rica and other micronutrients to formulate a truly remarkable product. Its benefits are many, not the least of which are the regulation of excess cortisol, a reduction in overall stress, increased focus and an immune system booster. Use it daily and use its partner product Primorye Gold before and after workouts.
4. Montmorency Concentrated Cherry Juice – This product is also a new discovery for us. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and contains naturally occurring melatonin, which helps with sleep and is a brain anti-oxidant.
5. Vega Health Optimizer – Our favorite protein powder. Developed by Brendon Brazier, a vegan triathlete, this product contains the correct amount and balance of the various proteins required to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. It is available in a variety of flavors.
6. Oxyfresh Foundation Formula – This is our favorite comprehensive daily multivitamin and mineral packet. It not only contains 3 multivitamin capsules, but omega-3, vitamin E, antioxidant and digestive enzyme capsules as well. It contains the best types of nutrients and the most optimal amounts and combination of nutrients for athletes. For endurance and elite athletes, we recommend 2 packets a day. Capsules are packaged in very convenient packets for easy transport while on the road.
7. Vega Sport Performance Optimizer – Fantastic electrolyte and energy powder easily added to water. Comes in a variety of flavors.
8. Oxyfresh Joint Formula – Best new product of 2009. This product was introduced by Oxyfresh last year and is the best joint formula we have come across to date. This scientifically proven formula is formulated to start repairing joints and relieving pain within 30 days. It reduces joint discomfort, restores mobility and flexibility and protects joints from deterioration. Joint Formula contains the patented UC-II, an undenatured type-II collagen, derived from chicken sternum cartilage.
Started in 2000 by Los Angeles-based trainer Cameron Shayne, the word Budokon is Japanese for “Way of the Spiritual Warrior” and Shayne is its embodiment. Budokon isn’t just a hyped-about new workout that has celebrities praising his name, but is more about accuracy and procedure while being true to the mind and spirit and tending to the body’s health requirements.
Shayne states that Budokon is really a “living art.” He goes on to say that it includes the complete being, “It is your waking and your sleeping, your walking and your sitting, your living and your dying.” Shayne promises that there are no gimmicks with Budokon, there exists only something he calls “The Way.” Despite the fact that “The Way” sounds like an association to a religion or another structured principle, Shayne highlights that it is just a zen way of getting close to your life and is not meant to be taken as enlightenment.
There is a unique philosophy attached to practicing Budokon as a means of connecting spirituality to the physical and mental levels of the art, but it mostly centers on the individual and letting go of attachments and being true to oneself.
There’s three steps to Budokon. Number one, study the practices and do them regularly, keeping a fluid motion within your body and an open communication with your mind.
Second, learn the ten cultivations of Budokon and study the food recommendations in order to attain the highest level of success and to completely bring balance to your health. The cultivations are basic and consist of going from simple and direct to the more complex. Food guidelines are also straightforward and simple to follow by advising against eating or drinking much before practice and sticking with light foods, maintaining a diet of leafy vegetables during the day, eating meat sparingly, staying away from dense foods, and trying to consume only natural sweeteners like honey, agave and stevia.
The third and last step to acquiring full Budokon is to keep a flow going from the relaxing yoga poses to fast moving cardio kicks to the sitting meditation as the final section of a class. Of course, the steps are aquired over time and inexperienced persons aren’t obliged to be graceful immediately.
Try out a class or two and challenge your body to work outside of its comfort zone. Budokon may end up being another fad exercise trend that celebrities will wear out soon, but it is very much gaining strength for now. As long as it makes you feel good, makes your body attain a higher level of fitness, and brings you in closer connection to your spirit, more power to founder Cameron Shayne and the refreshing style called Budokon.
Budokon: Flow & Flexibility Yoga
Budokon: Power & Agility Yoga
Budokon: Strength & Balance Yoga
Free radicals cause cellular damage. Antioxidants neutralize and discard free radicals from the body.
The more stress you put on your body, the greater the need fo antioxidants. The more intensely you train, the greater the stress on your body. The more you run or cycle in traffic and swim in chlorinated pools, the greater your exposure to toxins. Lack of deep rest, demands from your career and family all contribute to an increase in free radicals.
Hence, antioxidants are crucial to increase performance levels and for long-term health. The best sources of antioxidants are raw, organic fruits and vegetables. In today’s world, you will not be able to consume enough to combat the demands placed on your body, especially if you train intensely.
It is important to note that you want a full spectrum of antioxidants as they all work in conjunction with each other to rid the body of a wide variety of free radicals. It is also vital to keep glutathione levels up in your body, since glutathione serves to enhance the effects of all other antioxidants and is responsible for disposing of the waste products of free radical neutralization.
Some great products include: Lifeshots antioxidant liquid, Primorye Stress Relief Plus, Immunocal Platinum (to increase glutathione), Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice and PNT 200 (to reduce excess cortisol levels)
Most athletes are aware of the muscle building benefits of protein, but did you know that protein is also crucial for every enzyme, immune cell, neurotransmitter, the skin and bones? Without adequate protein, the body suffers. You will tend to feel tired, it will take longer to recover, you will suffer sickness more often, you will experience mood swings, good quality sleep is harder to come by, and the list goes on. You can see how proper protein intake is vital to performance and health.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. Some come from food and supplements and others can be manufactured by your body. Food containing proteins are considered either complete or incomplete, depending on whether they contain all the essential amino acids. Animal sources are considered complete while vegetarian sources are considered incomplete. In order to become complete, vegetarian protein must be comined with grains. Examples of animal protein are; eggs, poultry, meat or fish. Vegetarian protein comes from nuts and legumes.
The amount your body requires depends on your weight and activity level. Generally, it is recommended to consume 1-2 grams per kilogram of body weight throughout the day. Portions should not be more than 25 to 30 grams at a time. What happens when you consume too much protein? This can acidify the body, which increases inflammation.
What are some convenient sources of high quality complete protein? There are 3 specific all-natural products that I recommend:
The first is Vega Health Optimizer, an all-in-one meal made from plant-based foods. It is a protein powder developed by a vegan athlete but appropriate for everyone. I have found this product to be extremely helpful in increasing my energy levels prior to activity. It is best included in a smoothie, taken at least 1-2 hours prior to exercise. Here is one recipe you can use.
Second, I recommend Sytropin just prior to activity and at bedtime. This is an amino acid complex that I have found to increase endurance, improve sleep and increase energy.
Third, I recently discovered a product called Immunocal Platinum. This product is the most scientifically and clinically proven natural product I have come across to increase glutathione levels in the body, which is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system and detoxifying the body. Glutathione is the body’s main antioxidant as well. It exists in virtually every cell in your body and must be manufactured at the cellular level. The benefit of Immunocal Platinum is that it provides the precursors necessary in a biologically available form for the body to create its own glutathione. It also helps alkalize your body. It has also been clinically proven to increase muscle performance. It is best consumed within an hour following your workout. Do not include this product in a smoothie. It’s biological integrity is highly dependent on how you mix it. Make sure you read the instructions so you get the maximum benefit from this product.
One of the questions that comes up consistently from athletes and very active people is what is best for refueling following a workout.
There are two keys to successful refueling. The first one is timing and the second is what you consume.
As far as timing is concerned, within 30 minutes of your workout, you should be consuming a recovery drink. Within 2 hours of your workout, you will want to consume a well-balanced meal and/or drink.
The ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and electrolytes are crucial to optimizing your body’s need for these ingredients as well as its ability to absorb and utilize them. What do you drink within 30 minutes of completing your workout? A drink consisting of a carbs to protein ratio of 4:1, added electrolytes including potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium and low in fat. You can get a commercial preparation or you can make your own. Endurox is an example of a commercial preparation.
An example of a post recovery drink is:
Perfect Empowered Drinking Water (oxygen and electrolytes are included)
Primorye (adaptogens are great for muscle recovery)
Organic orange juice
A pinch of organic sea salt
A bit of protein powder
if you don’t use Perfect Empowered Drinking Water, then I would suggest water and an electrolyte powder instead. Some examples are Ultima, Refresh and Elete.
A great resource we recommend is the book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by triathlete Brendan Brazier.
As far as your post-workout meal, it should include carbs, more protein, healthy fats (especially Omega-3s) and fiber. The reason we mention drink as an option is that a smoothie is a good post workout drink. Include a healthy protein powder like Vega, organic bananas, organic berries, Primorye, Lifeshots, organic flax oil, organic non-fat yogurt and organic orange juice (or other juice of your choice). You can play around with this recipe according to your taste preferences.
Also, make sure you continually drink plenty of water and include electrolytes during the day as well. Perfect Empowered Drinking Water is great because the electrolytes are already included in the water itself, not to mention added oxygen. Make sure you stay well hydrated and don’t overtrain.